UK retailers have recorded a year-on-year drop in sales volumes for a sixth consecutive month, the longest negative run since the financial crisis more than a decade ago, and have accumulated record-high stocks amid Brexit uncertainty, a survey shows.

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The Confederation of British Industry's latest monthly survey, conducted between September 26 and October 17, shows UK retailers’ stock volumes in relation to expected sales is the highest since comparable records began in 1983.

Of retailers surveyed, 53 per cent said stock volumes were “high” in relation to expected sales, with 47% considering them “adequate”.

The CBI said: “A combination of the proximity to Christmas and ongoing Brexit uncertainty is likely to have driven stocks higher, particularly with retailers stocking seasonal products earlier than usual.

“Notably, the survey did not show a similar spike in retailing stocks ahead of the previous Brexit deadline in March.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said repeatedly that the UK would leave the European Union “no matter what” on October 31, fuelling fears of a no-deal departure.

However, Mr Johnson has now accepted a further extension to the Brexit date offered by the EU.

The pace of year-on-year decline in retail sales volumes slowed in the CBI’s latest survey but was nevertheless significant.